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Karzai in Washington for White House Meeting - 2002-01-27


Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, is in Washington for landmark meetings with President Bush and Congressional leaders.

Details of Mr. Karzai's Washington schedule have not been disclosed. But the interim prime minister visits the White House Monday, and is expected to ask the president to keep U-S troops in Afghanistan until the al-Qaida terrorist network is wiped out.

The talks are also expected to cover Afghanistan's reconstruction. Before departing the Afghan capital, Mr. Karzai said the four-point-five billion dollars in aid pledged last week by donor countries must be used appropriately.

He also said he wants to lay flowers at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, to tell Americans that Afghans grieve with them over the lives lost in the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, U-S troops in eastern Afghanistan are reported pressing their hunt for Taleban leaders and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Reuters (News Agency) said U-S fighter jets and helicopters patrolled an area near the town of Khost as U-S troops conducted a ground search for remnants of al-Qaida and their former Taleban sponsors. There were no reports of significant fighting.

Saturday, the commander of U-S forces in Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks, met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad. The U-S general told General Musharraf there are no plans to move U-S troops from Pakistan.

General Franks says the priority now is to prevent new acts of terrorism, by using intelligence gained from captured prisoners and searches of al-Qaida camps.

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